These last few months specialists of regularity rallies have been keeping a close eye on the development of the Ypres Rally® regularity, new on the European calendar. In the meanwhile, the organisers, namely club SuperStage vzw, have been hard at work to develop the rich past of the Rally of Ypres into a talked-about regularity rally with as secret course held on the open road, true to the event's origins.
Even though the event - to be held from 30th November through to 2nd December 2018 - might appear far off, the regulations are available as from now, and registration as from 1st April 8pm. An entry at a reduced tariff is available up until 1st May and if we are to believe the bookmakers there will be a rush ...
In the meanwhile the organisers received the happy news that the competition will feature on the international FIA calendar and that officials will come to assess the first edition with a view to the event being an integral part of the European Championship as from 2019. Something unique for a regularity rally held 100% on Belgian soil. A definite première well worth boasting about!
Back to the roots
Sporting directors Bjorn and Jens Vanoverschelde also have good news regarding the course: "The course recces are now behind us. The competition HQ located in the centre of Ypres -where each evening the cars will be set up in the parc fermé in the shadow of the Lakenhallen - has been drawn up and the first permissions have been received. And to refer to and reinforce the first edition of the Rally of Ypres the first stage will take place on Friday 30th November at 18.30hrs and will only finish on ... Saturday 1st December at 16.00hrs! Nonetheless there will be a break during the stage, with a short 6-hour night regroup whereby the teams can call on their hotel rooms. After the finish of this long stage we make way for some relaxation at one of Ypres' heated terraces prior to tackling the third competition day on Sunday 2nd December as from 06.30hrs. The arrival over the podium on Ypres' Grote Markt is foreseen around 14.00hrs. The perfect mix between sportsmanship and relaxation!"
Good to know
... TRIPY will, similar as during the Monte Carlo Historique and numerous other regularity rallies, be responsible for the time registration;
... after the final special stage the winner will be immediately celebrated on the podium and his name will appear in the record of achievements between such names as Freddy Loix, Patrick Snijers, Robert Droogmans, Gilbert Staepelaere as also Jean Ragnotti, Miki Biaision, Henri Toivonen and Tony Pond;
... next to the podium on the Grote Markt and the parc fermé in the shadow of the Lakenhallen the service crews will also have their reserved space in the centre of Ypres. On top of that the service crews will be additionally pampered. During the lunches the competing cars have to be left in a mandatory parc fermé and the service crews can join the queue for the lunch before getting back to work;
... during the 'closed road stages' the performances of the drivers as opposed to those of the competing cars will be rewarded! The cars will in fact be classed in various categories based on engine capacity and time penalties be awarded based on the performance within the category;
... on the provisional timing there are 29 regularity stages, 3 closed road stages and 850 glorious kilometres.